The Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) and the Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR) extend deepest condolences to the family and all those affected by tragic death of a young Venezuelan infant and the injury of his mother, on Saturday, February 5 when the Coast Guard of Trinidad and Tobago intercepted their boat.
In a release Tuesday, February 8, Leela Ramdeen, Chair CCSJ and AMMR says they continue to pray for the injured mother and are “comforted with the knowledge that there will be an investigation into this tragic occurrence and look forward to the outcome.”
Ramdeen asserted that all human life is precious, including the lives of migrants and refugees. Pope Francis’ statement that “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity”, she maintained, is relevant both globally and in T&T.
“We call upon the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, and in particular, our Catholic community to welcome, protect, promote and integrate the migrant and refugee populations that have come to our shores.”
In the release, the CCSJ and the AMMR recognise that though there is a limit to how many migrants and refugees the country can realistically accommodate, the State can still do as Pope Francis recommended.
Recently, the Holy Father said, “Each country must say how many migrants they can take.”
Ramdeen underlined that trafficking in persons is “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity”, as per Pope Francis’ observation.
“Pope Francis asks the world to honour human dignity, to build solidarity and to move from an attitude of indifference to a culture of encounter with our brothers and sisters,” the release said.
In a statement Sunday 6, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley conveyed his deepest sympathy on his own behalf and of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago on the “unfortunate loss of life of the baby during the security operations.”
He appealed to Venezuelan neighbours “to not be encouraged to risk their lives and the life of others in illicit and dangerous border crossings.” President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro Moros called for an “exhaustive investigation” into the death of the baby.